Religious school students, parents, board members and other congregants from Rodeph Shalom gathered outside the historic synagogue on the northern edge of Center City Sunday to mark the groundbreaking of a $16 million renovation and expansion project.
Donors and board members have been campaigning for the expansion for more than three years to keep up with growing membership ranks. But they've also reined in their plans since the spring, reducing a proposed 27,000 square foot addition to 16,000 square feet.
The new wing will contain a multipurpose meeting room, administrative offices and early learning center. Earlier this fall, synagogue leaders conducted a study to see if it would make sense to designate part of the new structure for a day school, but decided that it wouldn't be feasible. The project also includes upgraded landscaping, security, elevators and stairwells, as well as a new entranceway with a drop-off driveway.
More than 300 congregants donated to the effort, which will ideally be completed in time for the 2014 High Holidays, said Tom Perloff, director of development and finance.